Tumour Microenvironment

Research Area 3

Scientific Overview

Projects within this Research Area will explore the microenvironment’s contribution to tumour growth, metastatic potential, and will devise ways to target it for therapeutic purposes.

The tumour microenvironment is quickly moving into the limelight both as driver and potential target for cancer therapy. The neglect of the role of the tumour microenvironment is largely due to the complexities added by considering not only the cancer cell as therapeutic target but also its habitat. Computational modelling can overcome this hurdle. This work will provide us with a better understanding of the tumour microenvironment and its potential role as a therapeutic target.


Lay Overview

This area of research focuses on the environment or 'habitat' of tumour cells, taking a holistic view of the tumour environment as a whole, rather than just the tumour cells. This 'habitat' is richly populated with other cell types, including immune cells, blood vessels and cells comprising the connective tissue. These cells interact constantly with their surroundings, and can either promote or inhibit tumour growth.

The tumour 'habitat' can also be a factor in how tumour cells metastasise or spread to distant sites in the body, as these cells are thought to only grow in sites where there is a favourable environment to support their growth. Projects within this research area aim to better understand how the tumour 'habitat' affects the growth and spread of cancer, and how it might be targeted with treatment.

Associated Projects